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Jacana

@ Books LIVE

The Blog for Bookish Voyeurs that has it All: Sugar Girls and Seamen

Residents of the Cape might recall a certain American who Yankee Doodled his way into a “Coon” troupe – the Lentegeur Entertainers – in 2001, and became something of a local media darling for his suit-and-parasol act.

The American was none other than Henry Trotter, a writer, traveller and scholar attached to Yale University, who has since forged a fascinating academic career that focusses on what he terms “port culture” – including detailed observations of the interactions between “sugar girls” (dockside prostitutes) and the seamen (sailors) who keep them in business.

As the Lentegeur Entertainers episode indicates, Trotter is no armchair scholar, but prefers to get to know the worlds he’s interested in intimately, at first hand. One of the products of his passion for exploring is the provocatively-named blog, Sugar Girls and Seamen, which chronicles the lives and times of those who populate the nightlife of the Cape Town docksides.

Now this is a great blog.

Trotter’s stories are the kind that those with an interest in the city’s cultures and history, as viewed from street level, will find irresistable: the blog opens a window on to an otherwise utterly invisible section of Cape Town.

His work in the area will be published as a book, with the same title, by Jacana later this year.

Here are some of our picks from his blog – “the best of Sugar Girls and Seamen”. But caution: nary a detail is spared in his writing, meaning sensitive readers ought to veer away and read blander websites!

This is particularly true of the last link – read on advisedly: